A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

Blood Bath litzine issue 1: Bodies

Blood Bath Litzine is open for submissions of short fiction and poetry on the theme of bodies.

Bodies are sites of terror and desire; they can be politicised, policed and possessed, becoming either a haven of pleasure or a hellish prison of flesh. They want to read your weirdest, most innovative stories on bodies.

They’re open to any and all types of horror, dark fantasy, speculative or science fiction – so don’t hold back.

Blood Bath accepts short fiction from 100 to 2,500 words, flash fiction shorter than this as well as poetry (maximum 15 lines) are also encouraged and welcome. A maximum of four poems and two prose pieces at a time.

Contributors will be paid, at a rate of £10 per 1,000 words for prose, and £10 per poem.

The deadline is 1 August 2018.

For more guidelines and information, see the website here.

April 26, 2018

Former Freight Poets Find New Home

  •   Award-winning pamphlet publisher Stewed Rhubarb takes first steps into full collections
  •   Debut collections by poets Harry Giles and Rachel McCrum reissued

 After two years in hiatus, Stewed Rhubarb has made the decision to start work again as a specialist in the publication of poetry by spoken word artists, and is set to re-issue two poetry collections previously taken out of print following the collapse of Freight Books late last year.

Tonguit by Harry Giles – a collection shortlisted for both the Edwin Morgan Award and the Forward Prize for First Collection – and The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate by Rachel McCrum – former BBC Scotland Poet in Residence – will find a new home with the press, and will both be available in bookshops come April.

 

Harry Giles and Rachel McCrum had both previously published pamphlets with Stewed Rhubarb before being picked up for their debut full collections by Freight. Editor and designer James T. Harding said:

“I was so excited when Rachel and Harry were taken on by Freight. I thought a bigger publisher would be able to advance their careers better than I could. When Freight went into liquidation, Harry Giles emailed to ask if they could buy one of my ISBN numbers to self-publish a reissue. I thought I could do better than that… so here we are, a few months later, and I appear to have started a full-on publishing company.”

The new edition of Tonguit is currently available to order from bookshops and online, and McCrum’s The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate will be released in May.

Of the press, poet Harry Giles said: “Stewed Rhubarb’s dedication to fertilising the roots of literature is immense and impressive. They care about poetry, and they’re doing difficult work to keep Scottish poets in print at a vulnerable and precarious time — and they’re doing it with gusto. After a tumultuous year, working with SR again felt like coming home. Also, they design gorgeous books.”

Rachel McCrum said: “I am thrilled to my core to be working with Stewed Rhubarb again, and honoured to be among the first for their new wave of publishing. Their books are immaculately designed and edited, and their publishing model is responsive, considered, and places the author at the heart of things. Scotland should be proud of them. I can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Stewed Rhubarb was founded in 2013, winning the Callum Macdonald Award for its first pamphlet, The Glassblower Dances by Rachel McCrum. Since then, the imprint has published 16 pamphlets from writers ranging from Edinburgh to the Appalachian Mountains, including playwright Jo Clifford, Scottish spoken-word luminary Jenny Lindsay, and Freight author Russell Jones. Stewed Rhubarb is known for its wildly diverse list, authentic appreciation of the spoken-word scene, and high production values.

The online launch for both collections will take place on Wed 25th April.

www.stewedrhubarb.org | @stewedrhubarb | #stewedrhubarb

– ENDS –

For press enquiries please contact: rebecca@stewedrhubarb.org

www.stewedrhubarb.org

Interviews available

James T. Harding

Rachel McCrum (based in Canada)

Harry Giles

  

Notes to Editors

–       The online launch for both collections will take place on Wed 25th April

–       Poetry from both collections if available for reprint

Harry Giles

Harry Giles is from Orkney, Scotland. They write and perform work across poetry, theatre and games, and their work generally happens in the crunchy places where performance and politics get muddled up. They were the 2009 BBC Scotland slam champion, co-direct the live art platform Anatomy, and have toured participatory performances across Europe, North America, New Zealand and Leith. www.harrygiles.org

Tonguit

Shortlisted for the Forward Prize’s 2016 debut collection award, Harry Giles’ Tonguit is a moving exploration of identity in Scots, English, and bureaucracy. Politically radical and formally inventive, Tonguit plays at the borders of nationality and sexuality with irreverent affection, questing through languages for a place to speak.

Rachel McCrum

Rachel McCrum was born in 1982 and grew up in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland. She lived in Edinburgh, Scotland from 2010 to 2016, where she previously published two pamphlets with Stewed Rhubarb Press: The Glassblower Dances (2012, winner of the Callum MacDonald Award) and Do Not Alight Here Again (2015, also a solo Fringe show). She was the Broad of cult spoken word cabaret Rally & Broad, the inaugural BBC Scotland Poet-In-Residence, and a recipient of an RLS Fellowship in 2016. She has performed and taught across the UK, Ireland, Greece, South Africa, Haiti and Canada. She currently lives in Montreal, Quebec, where she is Director of Les Cabarets Batards.

The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate

The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate is both lyrical and gentle, demanding and sharp as it carves its own path through themes of family, place, environment, and repression. The poems in the collection are fragments of McCrum’s sea-bourne journey from Northern Island, across Scotland, and alighting in Canada. It’s a collection about leaving home and what you take with you.

James T. Harding

As well as running Stewed Rhubarb, James T. Harding is the editor of C&B News and the features editor of Broadway Baby. He is a writer on Cops and Monsters, a supernatural police thriller on Amazon Prime. He occasionally sleeps.

 

April 21, 2018

Donald Meek Award 2018 – submissions invited

The Gaelic Books Council is inviting submissions from Gaelic writers for the Donald Meek Award 2018. This award, established with financial assistance from Creative Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig, aims to encourage and support new and established Gaelic writers and new Gaelic writing. Six entries were shortlisted for the Donald Meek Award 2017 and it was bestowed on Iain MacRae for his stage play, Taigh Sheonachain.

For more information and rules, see our website.

Submissions should be sent via email to rosemary@gaelicbooks.org  on or before 5pm on Friday 4th May 2018.

The shortlist will be announced early in September and the award will be presented at an evening reception in Glasgow in October 2018. The very best of luck!

Tha Comhairle nan Leabhraichean a’ sireadh thagraidhean bho sgrìobhadairean Gàidhlig airson farpais Duais Dhòmhnaill Meek 2018. Chuireadh an duais seo air chois le taic-airgid bho Alba Chruthachail agus bho Bhòrd na Gàidhlig le sùil gum misnich is gun cuidich i sgrìobhadairean Gàidhlig ùra agus stèidhichte. Chaidh sianar ainmeachadh air gèarr-liosta Duais Dhòmhnaill Meek 2017, agus chaidh am prìomh dhuais a bhuileachadh air Iain MacRath airson an dealbh-chluich, Taigh Sheonachain.

Gheibhear tuilleadh fiosrachaidh agus riaghailtean an seo.

Faodar an sgrìobhadh a chur a-steach gu h-eileagtronaigeach gurosemary@gaelicbooks.org  ro 17.00 air Dihaoine 4 Cèitean 2018. Feumar clàr-iarrtais (a gheibhear gu h-ìosal) a chur ris an tagradh. Thèid an geàrr-liosta fhoillseachadh aig toiseach na Sultaine agus thèid na duaisean a thoirt seachad aig tachartas sònraichte ann an Glaschu san Dàmhair 2018. Gur math a thèid leibh!

April 20, 2018

A Culture Strategy for Scotland – Engagement Report

The Culture Strategy Team has provided an update on the development of ‘A Culture Strategy for Scotland’.

Many of you took part in the engagement phase which ran between June and December 2017 2017 with the central ambition to stimulate debate and generate ideas across the sector and wider society to inform the development of the strategy.  During this time, the Scottish Government hosted a series of nine Scotland-wide public events during the Engagement Phase which attracted nearly four hundred contributors in total (Dundee; Inverness; Paisley; Dumfries; Galashiels; Aberdeen; Skye; Edinburgh; Dunfermline) and more than fifty events were also held by partners and stakeholders. Written submissions were also made by organisations and individuals, and more than thirty contributions were received via the online interactive ideas forum.

The team has now produced an engagement report which provides an overview of the main themes and ideas that emerged across all the engagement events as well as written submissions and online forums. The main report and a summary can be found here.

The report will inform a draft strategy which will be issued for public consultation later in 2018.

 

Contact

To find out more about the culture strategy and how to get involved, email culturestrategy@gov.scot or contact a member of the strategy team:

  • Donna Stewart, Senior Policy Manager: 0131 244 7682
  • Sarah Simpson, Policy Officer: 0131 244 0305

You can also share your views on Twitter, tagging @culturescotgov and using the hashtag #scotlandscultureconversation

April 10, 2018

Open Project Funding for Literature: February 2018

Last month £1,034,174 of Creative Scotland Open Project Funding was awarded to 43 recipients, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries. Over £950,000 of these awards has been awarded through National Lottery Funding.

Congratulations to the following organisations and individuals receiving funding in February 2018 for Literature:

Dingwall-based Sandstone Press have received funding to enable them to publish twenty-five new titles in 2018, including 10 fiction and 15 non-fiction titles, alongside professional development for members of the Sandstone Press.

Novelist Kate Tregaskis, writer Simon Wilson Hall and poet Jim Carruth have all received funding towards new works.

New writing publication Gutter Magazine has received funding to support its next four issues.

For funding information on the other cultural sectors, read the announcement on Creative Scotland’s website.

March 29, 2018

Obituary: Sir Gerald Eliot, patron of the arts in Scotland

Sir Gerald Eliot, the former chairman of Christian Salvesen and patron of the arts in Scotland, died on 28 January 2018 aged 94.

The admiration for Sir Gerald’s support for the arts in Scotland is widespread. Read his obituary in The Herald by Alasdair Steven (8 February 2018) which includes the following quote from Edinburgh Festival’s director Fergus Linehan:

“Sir Gerald was passionately enthusiastic about the arts and made a substantial contribution to Scotland’s cultural life. He and Lady Elliot supported both established and emerging artists through The Binks Trust and generously opened up their home to welcome visitors to the Festival.”

 

 

March 19, 2018

New Lobbying Act – have you registered?

The Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 is in force from 12 March 2018. 

The Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 became law in April 2016. The Act aims to increase public transparency about lobbying. It defines particular types of communication as ‘regulated lobbying’.

From 12 March 2018 the Lobbying Register website (www.lobbying.scot) must be used by anyone who engages in regulated lobbying to record details of their activities. The Register is also searchable by anyone with an interest in finding out about regulated lobbying activity that has taken place.

Regulated lobbying is lobbying which takes place face-to-face with MSPs, members of the Scottish Government (including the Scottish Law Officers), Special Advisers or Permanent Secretary and which relates to Scottish Government or Parliamentary functions. 

There are a number of exemptions in the Act that may mean you will not need to enter details in the Lobbying Register. See this guidance on the Act to help you to determine whether it applies to you.

Download the leaflet

Download the FAQs

The Lobbying Register Team can be contacted on 0131 348 5408 or lobbying@parliament.scot

There is also a Twitter feed for the Scottish Parliament Lobbying Register:  @SP_LobbyingScot

March 13, 2018

Celebrating Dame Sarah Elizabeth Siddons Mair on International Women’s Day 2018

Dame Sarah Elizabeth Siddons Mair honoured at Edinburgh home with plaque installation

In 2016 the City of Literature Trust nominated Dame Sarah Siddons Mair to receive a plaque as part of the Commemorative Plaque Scheme run by Historic Environment Scotland. Today, on International Women’s Day, her plaque was installed at 29 Abercromby Place, where she was born, to commemorate her life and work towards promoting women’s education and suffrage.

Born in 1846, Mair was the great-great granddaughter of the actress Sarah Siddons, who was best known for her portrayal of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth. Sarah Siddons Mair carved a name of her own, however, as one of the most central figures in the Scottish women’s movement. She was a lifetime advocate for women’s education and suffrage, known for her work as a writer, reviewer, editor, and campaigner.

At the young age of 19, she was the founder and president of the Ladies’ Edinburgh Debating Society, which offered Edinburgh women the chance to practice speaking in public, acquire debating skills, whilst also exploring social issues. She would later go on to help found the Edinburgh Association for the University Education of Women, and become president of the Edinburgh National Society for Women’s Suffrage in 1907.

Mair is also known for her work in promoting higher education for women, and notoriously founded St George’s High School for Girls in 1888. We were lucky enough to be joined by current pupils and teachers from the school, who read extracts from her work, as well as the Royal Scots Club, who organised a lunch in her honour.

The unveiling of Mair’s plaque in the New Town came about as a result of the Commemorative Plaque scheme run by Historic Environment Scotland. The Trust nominated three female writers deserving of such commemorations in back in 2016; all of whom were chosen. The other recipients included Dorothy Emily Stevenson, an avid novelist, and Susan Ferrier, widely recognized as ‘the Scottish Jane Austen’. Last year, two further nominated female writers were also chosen to receive plaques: Mary Brunton and Christian Isobel Johnstone.

Siân Bevan, Programme Manager at Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust said: “The plaques are a great reminder of the vibrant women writers who make up the incredible literary history of Edinburgh. Some of them may have, for one reason or another, fallen out of the public’s memory so it’s fantastic to have plaques in public spaces which might encourage folk to find out more about their remarkable life and works.”

This year, we look forward to the installation of a further two plaques commemorating the lives of Mary Brunton and Christian Isobel Johnstone. For more information about both women, explore the Women Writers’ page on the Edinburgh City of Literature website.

– ENDS –

For further information please contact:

Rebecca Raeburn, Communications Assistant, City of Literature Trust

rebecca@cityofliterature.com or 0131 557 9850

 

March 8, 2018

Open Project Funding for Literature: Jan 2018

Last month £836,779 of National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund was awarded to 41 recipients, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries.

Congratulations to the following projects and individuals receiving funding in January 2018 for Literature:

Literature festivals including Nairn Book and Arts Festival (11-16 September 2018) in the Highlands, Boswell Book Festival (4-6 May 2018) in East Ayrshire, and Aye Write! (15-25 March 2018) in Glasgow have received funding towards their 2018 programmes.

Poets Juana Adcock and Christie Williamson have received support to attend and speak at The International Poetry Festival of Granada.

Katrina Brodin, Programme Manager (Reader Development & Literacy) at AyeWrite! said: “At their core, Aye Write! and Wee Write! exist to foster a love of reading and writing and to encourage development of both. This funding not only helps Aye Write! identify, attract and nurture talent but also helps expose budding writers, readers and authors to new skills, genres and audiences. Similarly, Wee Write! fires imaginations and helps instil a passion for reading in new generations that will last a lifetime and encourage young people to explore writing and reading in all forms.”

For funding information on the other cultural sectors, read the announcement on Creative Scotland’s website.

February 28, 2018

Wigtown Festival Company seeks Cultural Producer

Wigtown Festival Company (WFC) is looking to recruit a cultural producer / programme manager from April 2018.

This is an exciting opportunity to be a key member of a team delivering a variety of literary and cultural activities across south-west Scotland, including the annual Wigtown Book Festival.

The position is full-time with a salary of £25,000 and is based at our offices in Wigtown, Dumfries & Galloway.

The successful applicant will have a strong professional background in arts and literature and proven experience of delivering cultural projects, including monitoring, evaluation and reporting. A driver’s license is also required.

This is not an entry level position, though applicants with appropriate internship experience will be considered.

WFC is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Our organisation is committed to equalities, diversity and inclusion.

To register interest and for further information, including job description and application requirements, please contact Anne Barclay (anne@wigtownbookfestival.com).

Application deadline: 5pm, Friday 9 March 2018.

Interviews: week commencing Monday 19 March

Wigtown Festival Company | 11 North Main Street | Wigtown | DG8 9HN

Charity registered in Scotland. Number SC037984.

February 26, 2018

2018-2023 Draft Gaelic Language Plan

The second iteration of the National Library of Scotland’s Gaelic Language Plan is now out for public consultation.

The plan will remain open for this period of consultation from 19 January 2018 to 16 March 2018.

The Library is seeking the views and comments of interested individuals, businesses and local and national Gaelic organisations, regarding the content of its Draft Gaelic Language Plan which, once finalised, will cover the period 2018-2023.

All views and comments will be fully considered before the final draft of the plan is produced at the end of the eight-week period.

If you have any comments or queries regarding the content of the plan, please do send an email to GaelicLanguagePlan@nls.uk.

 

2018-2023 Dreachd Phlana Ghàidhlig

Thathar a’ dèanamh co-chomhairle phoblach air an dàrna tionndadh den Phlana Ghàidhlig aig Leabharlann Nàiseanta na h-Alba aig an àm seo.

Bidh a’ cho-chomhairle fosgailte eadar 19 Faoilleach 2018 agus 16 Màrt 2018.

Tha an Leabharlann a’ sireadh bheachdan bho dhaoine agus buidhnean aig a bheil ùidh sa chùis, a’ gabhail a-steach buidhnean Gàidhlig aig an ìre ionadail is nàiseanta, air an dreachd Phlana Ghàidhlig aige airson 2018-2023.

Thèid cnuasachadh air na beachdan uile a gheibhear sa cho-chomhairle mus tèid an dreachd mu dheireadh den phlana fhoillseachadh aig deireadh nan ochd seachdainean co-chomhairleachaidh.

Ma tha beachd no ceist sam bith agad mu shusbaint a’ phlana, cuir post-d gu GaelicLanguagePlan@nls.uk.

 

 

February 26, 2018

Edinburgh: City of Literature – Summer School course

Edinburgh has an amazingly rich literary heritage and was the first city in the world to receive UNESCO City of Literature status.

Now, the University of Edinburgh has created a unique four-week course to examine some of Edinburgh’s most celebrated literary talents – Edinburgh: City of Literature.

Alongside works by Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ian Rankin, Muriel Spark and Irvine Welsh, the course will explore these writers’ presence in the city through manuscript collections and objects in the National Libraries and Museums of Scotland and the Edinburgh Writers’ Museum.

It will also follow their footsteps through the city to see how their presence has been marked with monuments, plaques and other forms of cultural heritage, and consider how these writers represent the city in their works and how it has shaped their writing.

Application deadline: 30 March 2018. The course runs from 4-29 June 2018.

Watch the video below. For full details visit the website.

February 25, 2018

Invitation: Glasgow Zine Fest programme launch, 8 March

Glasgow Zine Fest is excited to invite you to their first ever Programme Launch!

The evening will feature poetry from Colin Herd and Jane Hartshorn, along with performances and screenings from visual artists James st Findlay, Lewis den Hertog, Rosa Klerkx, Sabe Lewellyn and Lauren La Rose. All are self-publishers in some form or another – so you’ll get to see their work at the fair on 14 and 15 April too!

Come along to the back room at Saramago’s Terrace Bar, CCA, on Thursday 8 March. The evening starts promptly at 8pm, and finishes at 10.30pm. The bar is then open until 12 midnight. Get your hands on their first ever printed programme for #GZF!!

Find out more here. Or go to the Facebook event and see who else is going.

For the launch the programme will also be available in large print, as a PDF on our website. For more information on access to the CCA, see their Access Statement.

Unfortunately there will not be BSL interpretation at this event, however all events at the festival will be interpreted.

Glasgow Zine Festival is a weekend of workshops, screenings, talks and socials topped with the biggest self publishing fair in Scotland. It takes place on 14 and 15 April 2018 at CCA Glasgow.

Follow them on Twitter @GlasgowZineFest

 

February 23, 2018

Event – FUTURE PROOF: How does the author fit into today’s publishing landscape?

Authors: join Creative Scotland and a host of publishing professionals for an afternoon of panels, talks and discussions, designed to inform and provoke debate around the opportunities and challenges currently facing writers at all stages of their career – including alternative routes to publication and the potential offered through new distribution models and digital channels.

  • Update yourself on both the traditional and new models of book distribution
  • Learn more about self-publishing models
  • Understand the viability of e-book publishing

Featured speakers will include Marion Sinclair of Publishing Scotland, Davinder Bedi of Booksource, Laura Jones of 404 Ink, self-published author Margaret Skea and Peter Urpeth of Emergents.

DATE: Monday 12 March 2018

TIME: 12.45-4.30pm

VENUE: Grassmarket Community Project, 86 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QA

FREE but ticketed: Book via Eventbrite

 

Afternoon Agenda

12:45 – Welcome, registration & coffee

13:00 – PANEL: Something Old, Something New: Approaches to Book Distribution

With Marion Sinclair (Publishing Scotland), Davinder Bedi (Booksource), Laura Jones (404 Ink)

14:30 – Comfort Break

15:00 – TALKS:

  • The Road Less Travelled with Peter Urpeth, Emergents
  • Hybrid/Self-publishing and E-books, Margaret Skea, author

Q&A

16:30 – Event close

February 23, 2018

Creative Scotland opening remarks to Culture Committee (22 February 2018)

Below are the opening remarks from Janet Archer, CEO of Creative Scotland at today’s evidence session to the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee: “Sustainable funding for arts and creative organisations in Scotland”

Watch the recording of the session here.

Good morning everyone and thank you to the Committee for inviting us to give evidence this morning.

We’re here to talk about sustainable funding for arts and creative organisations in Scotland.

Creative Scotland’s most significant means by which we provide this is via three-year Regular Funding. Our first round spanned 2015-18 and our guidance for the second round 2018-21 was published in November 2016. The process and guidance for Regular Funding was tested with sector representatives who worked with us to test them prior to us going live.

I want to start by saying I’m profoundly sorry that the delivery of this process has been such a negative one for many. We can’t let that happen again. My role as Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, is to take ultimate responsibility for everything that Creative Scotland does. I am currently in dialogue with everyone involved at every level in the process and I will make sure we learn from this moment and resolve all outstanding issues fairly and openly.

I’d like to offer some context in which I hope the committee will find helpful.

Regular Funding is an open application process, this time we had 184 applications and have funded 121. Overall we have committed to spending £33.9m on Regular Funding, £1m more a year than previously. Due to a £6.6m uplift from the Scottish Government for which we are very grateful, Regular Funding is no longer reliant on the National Lottery. We previously utilised £6m of National Lottery funding to regularly fund organisations.

Many of you are aware that between September and December last year, like other public bodies, we were scenario planning against some very difficult budget predictions.

In the end the budget settlement was much better than we expected. It’s important however to recognise that the 21% uplift we communicated, is made up of £10m for screen, set against hard economic targets, and £6.6m to replace the lost Lottery income for the arts as I’ve already outlined. That means our RFO budget effectively remains at standstill.

Despite this we have been able to support 121 excellent organisations, across Scotland and across art-forms for the next three years. At one point last Autumn we thought we might have only been able to fund half this amount.

The network includes 19 organisations new to Regular Funding, such as the Alchemy Film Festival in Hawick; Bodysurf Scotlandin Moray; Starcatchers, Scotland’s National Arts and Early Years organisation; Lyra, based in Craigmillar, in Edinburgh Toonspeak which provides free, high quality drama and theatre activities for young people aged 11-25 living in Glasgow; Theatre Gu Leor, the acclaimed Gaelic Theatre Company; and Tinderbox Collectivebased at North Edinburgh Arts.

Making funding decisions is never easy, nowhere more so than in Scotland where creative talent and ambition far outweighs the funding we have available, particularly in the context of increasing reliance on Creative Scotland funding, as alternative sources of support come under increasing pressure. I fully understand that even on standstill funding some organisations are really struggling. As stated in our arts strategy, we are committed to working with all organisations to support them to build resilience for the future.

Overall the applications we received totalled 33% more than our available budget. That created a real challenge for us particularly when organisations asked for an average of a 25% increase.

We have tried to help by supporting all organisations coming out of Regular Funding through providing transition funding of between six and 12 months at the same level they are currently funded at.

We are also in the process of meeting organisations to explain our decisions, and where they have been unsuccessful, discuss alternative routes to funding and how we might be able to support them in the future.

Regular Funding is one of our routes to funding, sitting alongside Open Project and Targeted Funding which includes Screen.  Over the coming three years, we expect to distribute circa £83m of Government and National Lottery funds a year across these three funding routes.

One immediate thing I want to tackle is to make project funding more straight forward to access especially for artists, individuals, and artists led organisations. We’re planning to announce how we will do this very soon.

I completely recognise that the Regular Funding process has been more challenging this time round than it needed to be – for both those applying and for our staff.

It’s clear that the introduction of the Touring Fund, while based on a review of touring which included consultation, did not chime with everyone in the theatre sector and is not seen as a replacement for Regular Funding. That’s one of the reasons that the Board decided to take stock, increase the budget available for Regular Funding and add organisations into the network.

We understand that this final stage of the process has created real difficulties, none of us want to repeat the experience, as it stands, in three years’ time.

That’s why, as we have already announced, we are committed to a root and branch review of how we fund. We will – importantly – do this in full collaboration with the people and organisations we support.

We welcome all of the constructive communications that we have received – of which there have been a significant amount – and much dialogue that has emerged. We are meeting with sector representative bodies – such as Scottish Contemporary Art Network, Federation of Scottish Theatre, Literature Alliance Scotland and others, whom we already work closely with – in the coming weeks to shape how we approach this review.

Finally, I want to recognise the dedicated, hard-working and knowledgeable staff at Creative Scotland who work every day to make a positive difference to art and culture in our country. Many have recently joined us after high profile careers in the sector. Others have built up immense knowledge over many years of service. They have worked thoughtfully and diligently on this Regular Funding round, dedicating a great deal of time, energy and care to the process.

We are all committed to doing things differently in the future, many ideas have been surfaced as we’ve been working through our difficult decisions and we’re looking forward to sharing these as we enter into dialogue over the coming months.

Thank you.

 

February 22, 2018

Call out:Scottish-Latvian Poets & Performing Artists Exchange

 Expressions of interest are sought from Scottish poets and performing artists who work or have worked in Gaelic or Scots for this cultural exchange project by Visiting Arts in the Spring.
It involves a week in both Latvia and Scotland to collaborate with Latvian peers on written and performative work around the theme of endangered languages.
The aim is to promote a greater awareness of endangered languages and the rich contemporary literature and culture in Scotland and Latvia. More info here.
 
Deadline: Thursday 15 February 2018

 

January 25, 2018

Sad news about the passing of Alex Cluness

Below is a note from Marc Lambert of Scottish Book Trust about the unexpected passing of Alex Cluness.

Alex was from a notable Shetland family and one of the instigators of Word Play, Shetland’s literary festival. He was a good poet himself, and did a lot of work – first in Shetland, then elsewhere – in supporting and developing new writers.

He was an excellent person – funny, modest, and kind. His company was always a life-affirming pleasure. He was very kind and supportive to me as a newbie at SBT. Later I returned the favour in helping (in a very minor way) him and his colleague Tracy set up Literature Works, which enables and nurtures literature development activity in South West England.

Alex’s family wanted as many of his former colleagues and friends to know as possible. They will keep in touch with me regarding funeral arrangements etc, which I will pass on.

This is very, very sad. We have lost a talented poet and a great friend.

Below is an appreciation by poet Kevin MacNeil, “Writers Who Deserve to be Better Known”, from Scottish Review of Books, 2011.

KEVIN MACNEIL

Neglected writers are like Shetland on a wider map – marginalised and boxed away like an afterthought when recognised at all. It is to Shetland I turn your attention, and a contemporary writer who is a one of the UK’s best and most original poets. In Shetland literary circles Alex Cluness is quietly revered; elsewhere he is quietly ignored. He is a typical islander in that he devotes his energies to promoting the work of others – as Shetland’s literary development officer, then while working in literary promotion in South West England, now as a visionary leader at Uist’s Taigh Chearsabhaigh. Cluness’s poetic output is eclectic, impassioned and wide-ranging, encompassing Shetland and Other Poems, Disguise, 2005, and Mend. 2005 is an intense, cinematic, rain-soaked collection, a paean to Wong Kar-wai. The astonishing lines in the poems of Mend are so long the book had to be published in letterbox format. Disclaimer: Alex’s work is also included in a recent anthology I edited, These Islands, We Sing. My primary intentions in editing this book were to emphasise how disproportionately high is the quality of poetry from the Scottish isles and also to give greater prominence to writers such as Cluness. I have read his work at quite a few events promoting the anthology and it always elicits a physical response, a gasp. Cluness’s poetry is epic, intimate, elemental, complex and beautiful.

James Robertson published Alex under the Kettillonia imprint and below is what he had to say about Alex’s collection, followed by one of the poems from that pamphlet, Disguise:

“This collection by Shetland-based poet Alex Cluness is deceptive in more ways than one. Apparently simple, the poems lure you into the minds of eighteen different men filled with the hopes and despairs of being in love. Funny and poignant, they suggest that the porn star and the minister, the zen master and the boxer, the astronaut and the alcoholic have at least this much in common: that love can be the loneliest emotion in the universe.”

 The Fisherman

The fisherman
Given over to love
Began a carving
When the days rolled less:

To bless this Madonna
And baby saviour
He kissed the finished piece
As the North Sea
Squeezed the concertina
Of their fragile red boat

My girl
He said to himself
Is more important to me
Than I can ever know
I must just trust to God
That she is safe

The ocean formed a landslide
And at a wild angle
The call came to haul the nets

 

 

 

January 22, 2018

#CheerstoRabbie

Let’s raise a glass to Burns from every corner of the world.

As part of its work to promote Scotland’s Winter Festivals, The Scottish Government is celebrating our shared love of Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns by creating a global virtual toast to the great man and we would love you to participate.

Since there is no better opportunity than 25 January to come together with like-minded people from all over the world Scottish companies and brands, along with their employees and customers are being asked to help make that celebration bigger than ever before.

Doing your bit is simple. Just post a picture of your toast on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from 18 January using #cheerstoRabbie.

You may want to create a group toast, or get all of your employees/customers involved individually – the more the merrier! You can toast him at your Burns Supper with a classic Scotch, a wee skirl of the pipes or a twirl on the dance floor. Or you can do your #cheerstoRabbie from anywhere that takes your fancy.

Join us in raising a glass to the lassies, your family, your friends, and, of course, the big man himself because wha’s like him.

January 18, 2018

Beyond Burns: 22 February 2018

Poetry and talks on Dumfriesshire and Galloway past and present, featuring award-winning poets Hugh McMillan, Liz Niven and Stuart A. Paterson, alongside British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow Gerard McKeever.

This is a free event at The Stove in Dumfries on 22 February from 6.30-9.30pm.

Please RSVP for numbers to gerard.mckeever@glasgow.ac.uk

January 16, 2018

Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship 2018: Call for submissions

Applications are now invited from professional mid-career or established writers based in Scotland for the 2018 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship on the theme, Epic.

Deadline: 5pm on Tuesday 30 January 2018.

This Fellowship is open to playwrights, fiction writers, poets, librettists or lyricists to research, write and develop work for the stage that meets their creative ambition to work on a larger scale.

Hosted by Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland, in partnership with the Royal Lyceum Theatre, a professional writer will be given the opportunity to develop an original play, adaptation or new, scripted dramatic work for the stage, that is grand in scale.

For more information and details on how to apply, please visit Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland’s website here.

January 15, 2018

Open letter from Scotland’s writers to protect literature budget

Dear Editor,

The Scottish Government is preparing a budget which will have major consequences for the future health of the nation. All the signs suggest that culture in general could face devastating cuts. We are calling for the government to increase funding for the arts and literature, for the good of everyone in Scotland.

As writers who have built our careers while living here, or who have retained a close connection with the country even though we live elsewhere, we have benefited from Scotland’s long-standing commitment to making culture and the arts accessible for all – both in building readership for our work, but also in supporting the creation of our books. Some of us have received grants to help us write our books, while others have benefited from training and mentoring schemes for emerging writers. Our entrepreneurial publishers and our much-loved libraries have received vital support to publish and distribute books as widely as possible, while Scotland’s internationally-respected book festivals have achieved great things with small amounts of funding and have brought our work to worldwide attention.

Supporting literature is not a drain on the country’s resources: books make an enormous contribution to the country, financially and reputationally. Our writers tour the world, talking about Scotland and its culture at book festivals from Guadalajara to Jaipur and from Reykjavik to Auckland. Our books are an advertisement for Scotland, attracting tourists to visit the landmarks they’ve read about, and foreign students to come on summer schools here – not to mention the visitors who come especially for our festivals.

Harry Potter; The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency; The Gruffalo – these are just some of the many international success stories that have been helped by Scotland’s literary support system. At the same time, key works of non-fiction such as Tom Devine’s The Scottish Nation and poetry from authors including Liz Lochhead and Jackie Kay have helped us better understand Scotland and its place in the world today. With more public support, writers can encourage diversity, inclusion and literacy, not to mention boosting Scotland’s economy.

Of course there are difficult budget decisions to make in times of austerity, but the cost of supporting literature only amounts to a tiny fraction of the overall money the government will spend. When it comes to the arts and literature, for a modest investment from the government our work generates enormous financial and cultural dividends.

Will future generations look back on the early 21st century and lament the absence of the next Muriel Spark, the next Robert Louis Stevenson, the next Edwin Morgan? We can’t be certain. But without support from the government, Scotland will surely damage one of its prize assets: its world-renowned literary heritage. What an irony we could be facing: a country which trumpets its First Minister’s Reading Challenge on the one hand, but which cuts funding to new writers on the other.

Yours,

Leila Aboulela

Lin Anderson

Kate Atkinson

Sian Bevan

Alan Bissett

Chris Brookmyre

John Burnside

Ron Butlin

Aonghas Padraig Caimbeul/Angus Peter Campbell

Karen Campbell

Nora Chassler

Regi Claire

Jo Clifford

Jenny Colgan

Stewart Conn

Stuart Cosgrove

Linda Cracknell

Jim Crumley

Christine De Luca

Meaghan Delahunt

Professor Sir Tom Devine

Imtiaz Dharker

Anne Donovan

Ever Dundas

Michel  Faber

Jenni Fagan

James Fergusson

Laura Fernandes

Charlie Fletcher

Aminatta Forna

Ronald Frame

Gavin Francis

Viv French

Janice Galloway

Magi Gibson

Harry Giles

Debi Gliori

Alasdair Gray

Alex Gray

Keith Gray

Andrew Greig

Kirsty Gunn

Robin Harper

Bill Herbert

Laura Hird

Richard Holloway

Kerry Hudson

Sandra Ireland

Kathleen Jamie

Jamie Jauncey

Tiffany Jenkins

Brian Johnstone

Doug Johnstone

Pat Kane

Kapka Kassabova

Jackie Kay

AL Kennedy

David Kinloch

Elizabeth Laird

Sue Lawrence

William Letford

Jenny Lindsay

Liz Lochhead

Kirsty Logan

Colin MacIntyre

Ken MacLeod

Aonghas MacNeacail

Kevin MacNeil

Iain Macpherson

Graeme Macrae Burnet

Sara Maitland

Willie Maley

Allan Massie

Peter May

Alexander McCall Smith

Helen McClory

Rachel McCrum

Val McDermid

Lesley McDowell

Denise Mina

Aidan Moffat

Donald S Murray

Liz Niven

Maggie O’Farrell

Andrew O’Hagan

Don Paterson

Mary Paulson-Ellis

Tom Pow

Chitra Ramaswamy

Ian Rankin

Alan Riach

Lucy Ribchester

James Robertson

David Robinson

Dilys Rose

Peter Ross

James Runcie

Helen Sedgwick

Sara Sheridan

John Gordon Sinclair

Ali Smith

Donald Smith

Alan Spence

Gerda Stevenson

Linda Strachan

Charlie Stross

William Sutcliffe

Malachy Tallack

Alan Taylor

Suria Tei

Alice Thompson

Ryan Van Winkle

Irvine Welsh

Louise Welsh

JL Williams

Kevin Williamson

James Yorkston

Davy Zyw

The letter has been featured in the following publications and has been sent to the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretaries for their views.

The Times

Guardian

The Herald

The Bookseller

December 5, 2017

Saltire Literary Awards announced!

Congratulations to the winners – and all shortlistees – of the 2017 Saltire Literary and Publishing Awards, announced on St Andrew’s Day, Thursday 30 November 2017, at Central Hall in Edinburgh.

Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe, looking at the borderlines that exist between countries, cultures and people was announced as the Scottish Book of the Year by the Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP at the Saltire Literary Awards 2017. 

Describing the book, the judges noted: ‘If ever there was a book for our times, it is Border: A journey to the Edge of Europe, delves into the stories of when the lines that separate countries on the map harden once more after their Cold War thaw. It is at once timely and timeless, with Kassabova – the poet and travel writer by trade – blending skills to spin something truly magical, and sadly, entirely necessary.’

Now firmly established as Scotland’s most prestigious annual book awards, the Saltire Society Literary Awards are supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland and celebrate and support literary and academic excellence across six distinct categories.

The winner of each individual book award wins a £2,000 cash prize and goes forward to be considered for the Saltire Book of the Year award and an accompanying cash prize of £3,000.

Announced at the Saltire Literary awards ceremony was the winner of the 2017 Saltire Publisher of the Year Award, which went to Birlinn, who  over its 25 years of publishing, Birlinn has consistently produced interesting, important and quality books with high production values.

Only in its second year, the winner of the Saltire Emerging Publisher of the Year Award was also announced as being presented jointly to founders of indie publisher 404Ink, Laura Jones and Heather McDaid, whose dedication and innovation are changing the face of modern Scottish publishing.

Information courtesy of Saltire Society. 

December 1, 2017

Protect the culture budget – write to your MSP

We’re calling on our members – and Scotland’s literature and languages community – to take action and write to Finance Cabinet Secretary Derek Mackay MSP and their local MSP to urge them to protect the culture budget.

We must ensure MSPs understand that we want to live in a literary nation and it is their job to invest in and support the development of that literary nation.

Use the info we’ve supplied in this template letter – but also draw on your own experience and the difference festivals, books, libraries, literature programmes have made to your life, your family and your community.

This is important. It will only take 10 minutes. Please post or email your letter by Friday 1 December.

 

Contact details

Derek Mackay MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution
T4.07
The Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh EH99 1SP

Email: CabSecFC@gov.scot

Find your local MSP here: http://www.parliament.scot/msps.aspx

 

Below is our letter posted to Mr Mackay, from LAS Chair Peggy Hughes.

—-

Dear Derek,

Please protect Scotland’s culture budget

My name is Peggy Hughes, I am Chair of Literature Alliance Scotland, which represents the principal literature and languages organisations in Scotland, and I write to ask you to ensure continued financial support for literature programmes in Scotland in the forthcoming budget.

While I appreciate you face difficult decisions when balancing the budget, the argument for investment in culture is strong. Scotland’s arts and culture sector is one of the most efficient and dynamic in our nation:

At £293 million, total spending on culture, tourism and external affairs represented less than 1% of the 2016-17 Scottish budget. Yet arts and creative industries contribute 3% of the gross value added to the national budget.

In 2015/16 Creative Scotland’s Regular Funded Organisations attracted £109million of extra investment from sources other than public funds and created 1.62 million public participation opportunities.

In 2015, 92% of adults in Scotland participated in a cultural activity and Scotland’s Creative Industries contributed £4.6billion GVA to the Scottish economy, supporting 73,600 jobs.

Scottish literature puts us on the international map and attracts business through publishing, bookselling and cultural tourism. Scotland has more than 100 active publishing houses, producing over 3000 new books a year, employing +1600 people, and generating an annual turnover of c£150 million. The country’s 45 plus book festivals include the world’s largest, and book festivals attract millions to Scotland’s local economies. A third of visitors to Scotland cite history and culture as a key motivation to visit, especially overseas and long-haul visitors.

Given the huge added value the cultural sector brings to Scotland’s economy, society and business community, it is clear that public investment in culture offers outstanding value for money.

Literature is a success story for Scotland and we appeal to the Scottish Government to invest in Scotland’s literature for the future.

Cuts to the public funding that supports the literary infrastructure in Scotland – the bedrock of a cultural offer recognised worldwide for its quality – will undoubtedly lead to the disappearance of many irreplaceable arts organisations and literary infrastructure which support our readers, storytellers, writers, and publishers.

Reading is Scotland’s favourite cultural activity, which brings with it important health benefits. In fact, a 2013 study conducted by the Scottish Government shows clear and significant links between cultural participation and improved health and wellbeing.

Right now, we are punching above our weight across all the creative sectors. Ours is a proud, confident, pioneering nation with a long reach. On behalf of our members, our communities and the young people of the future, we implore you: let’s not fall behind. Please protect the arts and culture.

Yours sincerely,

Peggy Hughes
Chair of LAS

 

Literature Alliance Scotland Membership at November 2017

Members

  • Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS)
  • Association of Scottish Literary Agents (ASLA)
  • Bookdonors CIC
  • CILIPS (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland)
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust
  • The Gaelic Books Council
  • Moniack Mhor
  • National Library of Scotland
  • Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust
  • Playwrights’ Studio Scotland
  • Publishing Scotland
  • The Saltire Society
  • Scottish Book Trust
  • Scottish Language Dictionaries
  • Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC)
  • SLAM (Scottish Literary and Arts Magazines)
  • Scottish Society of Playwrights
  • Scottish PEN
  • Scottish Poetry Library
  • Scottish Storytelling Forum
  • Scottish Writers Centre
  • Society of Authors in Scotland
  • Universities Committee for Scottish Literature
  • Wigtown Festival Company
  • Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (Scottish Region)

 

Network Associates

  • Ayton Publishing
  • Emergents CIC
  • Florida State Universities Library
  • Indie Authors World
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
  • Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication @ Stirling University
  • The Poetry Association of Scotland.
Outcomes

Letters were sent from: ASLA, ASLS, CILIPS, City of Lit, Indie Authors, LAS, Moniack Mhor, Playwrights Studio, Scotland and Scottish Society of Playwrights, Publishing Scotland, SLAM, Scottish PEN, Wigtown Book Trust, UCSL.

Society of Authors (in Scotland) supported the campaign with a letter from CEO Nicola Soloman, a piece on their website and in The Bookseller.

Weegie Wednesday also sent the template letter to their network to encourage letters.

At the Scottish budget announcement on 14 December 2017, the overall spend on what the Scottish Government defines as culture rose 10% to £166.8m.

 

November 30, 2017

#ScotBookFlood: Celebrating Scottish-Nordic Literary Links

With Book Week Scotland 2017 kicking off today, Publishing Scotland is delighted to announce ScotBookFlood. Inspired by the unique tradition of book gifting in Iceland, Jolabokaflod, ScotBookFlood will celebrate Scottish-Nordic links and encourage thoughtful book giving in the run-up to Christmas.

Jolabokaflod (which translates roughly as ‘Christmas book flood’) is the Icelandic tradition of giving books to one other on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading. It’s such a popular custom that it is the reason why the majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December.

ScotBookFlood reflects the recent Arctic Circle Forum in Edinburgh, at which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon emphasised the importance of continuing to forge strong relationships between Scotland and its northern neighbours. Iceland and the UK publish more books per capita than any other countries, and with more books sold in the run-up to Christmas than any other period, ScotBookFlood presents a timely opportunity to highlight dynamic Scottish-Nordic cultural connections.

Kristín Viðarsdóttir, Head of International Cooperation at Reykjavík City of Literature, comments: “Our literatures have crossed paths through the ages as have our people and our languages. We can trace our connection to the very settlement of Iceland, as many of our ancestors came here from the British Isles.”

Marion Sinclair, CEO of Publishing Scotland, says: “The vibrant publishing scene in Scotland moves into the spotlight during Book Week Scotland, and with Christmas ahead, this is a hugely busy time for publishers and bookshops. An increasing emphasis on book design and creating beautiful books these days means ScotBookFlood is an excellent opportunity to showcase books as the perfect gift.”

Duncan Furness, Senior Bookseller at Topping and Company Booksellers in St Andrews, one of Scotland’s newest bookshops, echoes this: “The gift of a book at Christmas provides much more than a diverting story or set of facts. Books contain entire worlds, and have the power to change our perception with every read and re-read. They are paper treasures which last a lifetime.”

The #ScotBookFlood digital campaign is delivered throughout Book Week Scotland (from 27 November to 3 December) via social media and the Books from Scotland website. Books from Scotland features a special ScotBookFlood issue launched today. Highlights include:

  • Interview with best-selling author Matt Haig about his new book for children Father Christmas and Me.
  • Exploring Edinburgh and Reykjavík as UNESCO Cities of Literature.
  • Exclusive Scottish gin cocktail recipe, inspired by Iceland’s volcanic outdoor pools.
  • Acclaimed author Kirsty Logan recalls sheep, wild swimming, and solitude in an article about her writing residency in rural Iceland.
  • Scottish Publishers reveal what Scottish books they will give this Christmas.
  • Extract from McSmörgåsbord: What Post-Brexit Scotland Can Learn from Our Northern Neighbours by Eberhard Bort and Lesley Riddoch.
  • Giveaways of books for adults and children.
  • Pinterest boards highlighting Scottish-Nordic literary links.

Author Kirsty Logan, who features in the ScotBookFlood campaign, remarks “I’ve always been inspired by the idea of north, and my time in Iceland strengthened and sweetened my northern heart. To say it’s a place of pure, terrifying magic is an understatement.”

This week, Books from Scotland and Publishing Scotland will ask about what Scottish books people plan to give this Christmas, or what books from Scotland people plan to read over the festive period. They invite the public to join the conversation, using hashtags #ScotBookFlood, #BookWeekScotland, and tweeting @scottishbooks.

[ENDS]

Notes for Editors

  • Publishing Scotland is the trade, network and development body for the Scottish book publishing sector. For more information visit www.publishingscotland.org and its books site www.booksfromscotland.com.
  • Book Week Scotland, a Scottish Government initiative, is the annual celebration of books and reading, facilitated by Scottish Book Trust. It runs from Monday 27 November to Sunday 3 December 2017.
  • Edinburgh was the first UNESCO City of Literature in the world. Reykjavík became the fifth UNESCO City of Literature in August 2011 and was the first non-English speaking city to join the Cities of Literature Network.
  • The Books from Scotland ScotBookFlood Issue is live at www.booksfromscotland.com/issue/scotbookflood. See alsoBooks from Scotland on Twitter (@scottishbooks) and Pinterest.
  • We are available for interview on topics relating to the ScotBookFlood campaign. Please contact Gill Tasker –gill.tasker@publishingscotland.org or call 0131 228 6866. Campaign logos and images are available on request from Gill Tasker.

 

November 27, 2017
#ScotBookFlood: Celebrating Scottish-Nordic Literary Links

Open Letter: We hope Government will continue to recognise the value of public funding of the arts

The Editor, The Herald

The cultural sector in Scotland awaits the UK Government’s budget announcement on Wednesday this week with trepidation: a perfect storm approaches.  Stark warnings have been issued to prepare for significant financial challenges. But further cuts to the public funding that supports the arts and its infrastructure in Scotland, the bedrock of a cultural offer recognised worldwide for its quality, will undoubtedly lead to the disappearance of many irreplaceable arts organisations.

The sector in Scotland has already weathered cuts of more than a third in real terms since 2010, including a year-on-year collapse of Lottery funding, which until now has been used to shore up Creative Scotland’s core funding for theatres, galleries, venues, literature, and more.  Creative Scotland would need an increase of 48% or £22m on the 2016 budget simply to match the real-term level of 2010.  Arts Council England, by contrast, this year announced £170m in new investment to support 180 additional National Portfolio Organisations.

Core funding reductions are compounded by threats from other areas:  if Barclay Review recommendations are implemented, millions would be wiped from the budgets of arts venues across Scotland.  Culture is not a protected spend, so further cuts to Local Authority budgets will wipe out grass roots community arts activities.

We welcome the positive public statements made by the Scottish Government in acknowledging the central role culture plays across our society, and we applaud the major new investments in film and the Edinburgh Festivals, The Burrell Collection and The V&A in Dundee. Clearly, the will to support arts and culture exists at the highest level.

However, big flagship investments cannot substitute for the basic funding that our everyday, small-to-medium sized cultural groups need to exist. If these disappear, which many will if predictions about cuts to Regular Funding Organisations (RFOs) are correct, how will we nurture and sustain the highly skilled but low-paid artists who deliver arts, culture and creative experiences to audiences across every community in Scotland?

We are clear that we have now arrived at a tipping point where even a small cut to Creative Scotland’s Grant-In-Aid, alongside the reduction in Lottery funds and local authority cuts, will devastate Scotland’s arts and culture infrastructure.  Damage to this infrastructure, developed with the aid of public investment over the last fifty years, will be irreversible. This cannot be overstated.

Conversely, a very small increase in funding would allow the core infrastructure of arts and culture in Scotland to survive and to thrive.

The argument for investment is strong. The arts and culture sector is one of the most efficient and dynamic in the country. In 2015/16 RFOs attracted £109m of extra investment from sources other than public funds and created 1.62 million public participation opportunities. In 2015, 92% of adults in Scotland participated in a cultural activity and Scotland’s Creative industries contribute £4.6bn GVA to the Scottish economy, supporting 73,600 jobs. These outcomes draw from, and depend on, skills identified and developed by the arts.

We are proud to live in a country that values arts and culture for its own sake as well as for its wider societal impact on health, education, justice and communities.  Government funding is vital to this ecosystem. We write to ensure the potential impact of further cuts is fully understood, and we ask the Scottish Government to demonstrate that understanding in the Draft Budget to come.

Yours faithfully,

Seonaid Daly, Director, Scottish Contemporary Art Network

Marc Lambert, Literature Alliance Scotland

Jan-Bert van den Berg, Director, Artlink Edinburgh & Lothians

Fiona Logue, Director, Craft Scotland

Dave Watson, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Unison

Claire Stewart, Director, Creative Edinburgh

David Francis, Director, Traditional Music Forum

Jude Henderson, Director, Federation of Scottish Theatre

David Watt, Chief Executive, Arts & Business Scotland

Janie Nicoll, former President, Scottish Artist Union

Sara Graham, CC Skills, Nations Director

Robert Livingston, Director, Regional Screen Scotland

Diana A Sykes, Director, Fife Contemporary

The letter appeared in The Herald on Tues 21 November 2017 here, and was also covered by Phil Miller online here.

 

 

November 21, 2017

CPG on Culture – 5 Dec 2017

The next CPG on Culture will be held on Tuesday 5 December 2017 between 5.30pm-8.00pm at the Scottish Parliament in Committee Room 2.

The meeting will look at Intangible Cultural Heritage.

  • 5.30-6pm – Social Discussion
  • 6-610pm – Introducing Intangible Cultural Heritage: Heather Doherty, Research Co-ordinator, Museums Galleries Scotland
  • 6.10-6.15pm – Illustration of Intangible Cultural Heritage: Kate Sloan and Elma Clark, Sanquhar Knitters
  • 615-6.45pm – Panel Discussion featuring: David Francis, Associate Director, TRACS; Simon Hayhow, Director, Scottish Fisheries Museum; Máiréad Nic Craith, Chair in European Culture and Heritage/Director of Research/Director of Intercultural Centre, Heriot-Watt University 
  • 6.45-8pm – Group Discussion

Due to room capacity only 60 non-MSPs can be accommodated at the meeting, so booking is essential. Secure your spot by emailing Kirstin.MacLeod@creativescotland.com 

 

SPEAKER BIOGRAPHIES

Heather Doherty, Research Co-ordinator, Museums Galleries Scotland 

Heather Doherty has been involved in MGS’ work relating to intangible cultural heritage (ICH) since 2008, including international activity and Scotland specific activity. Heather was part of the MGS team for the redevelopment of the ICH in Scotland website and for the organisation of the international ICH Symposium “For Everyone” in November 2015. She has worked in partnership with TRACS to deliver ICH workshops throughout Scotland, and presented at the TRACS St Andrews Day ICH event in 2016. Heather has attended meetings of the ICH NGO Forum and UNESCO meetings relating to the ICH convention.

Kate Sloan, Sanquhar Knitters 

Kate has been a knitter for over forty years. She has worked on the Sanquhar project since it started three years ago. Kate had always had a link to the pattern as she lives locally. She had her family and then the project helped resurrect her skills. She works as a volunteer on the project and has assisted in training many new members of the community with her skills, knowledge and patience.

Elma Clark, Sanquhar Knitters 

Elma is the knitting supervisor for the project. She has been a knitter for over forty years. Elma enjoyed knitting as it helped her work from home when she lived in a rural area and she could work from home and bring up her family. Elma worked for local company who did produce Sanquhar patterned products. Elma is dedicated to ensuring that the heritage of the pattern is passed on.

David Francis, Associate Director, TRACS 

David Francis is Associate Director of TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland) and Director of Scotland’s Traditional Music Forum. He compiled a report into traditional music for the Scottish Arts Council in 1999 and chaired the Scottish Government’s Working Group on Traditional Arts which reported in 2010.

Away from the desk, he is a dance-caller and storyteller, and as a guitarist and songwriter was one half of The Cast (with Mairi Campbell), producing 6 albums. He co-produces Distil, a long-running, creative development project for traditional musicians and is currently completing a Masters in Ethnology and Folklore at Aberdeen University.

Simon Hayhow, Director, Scottish Fisheries Museum 

Simon is Director of the Scottish Fisheries Museum, a post he has been in for over ten years. Before that, Simon was Curator of Natural Sciences at Lancashire County Museum Service for eighteen years, with previous museum posts in Rotherham, Oldham and Plymouth. In addition, he has worked for a range on conservation organisations, specialising in upland bird survey work. www.CPGonCulture.com

Máiréad Nic Craith, Professor of Cultural Heritage, Heriot-Watt University 

Máiréad Nic Craith is Professor of Cultural Heritage in the School of Social Sciences at Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh, Dubai and Malaysia). Her publications on heritage include edited volumes such as Cultural Heritages as Reflexive Traditions (2007 with Ullrich Kockel), Cultural Diversity, Heritage and Human Rights (2010 with William Logan and Michele Langfeld) and The Blackwell Companion to Heritage Studies (with William Logan and Ullrich Kockel in 2015). In 2011, she was invited by the United Nations as an expert on access to heritage as a human right. Her TEDx talk on intangible heritage is below.

November 15, 2017

The Lights Go On Again – #wordsonthestreet

Stars & Stories is an illuminated walking trail around the Canongate area of Edinburgh’s Old Town.

For the second year, Stars & Stories adds some sparkle to a winter evening walk with 24 beautiful light boxes displaying quotations which shine a light on the print and publishing history of the Canongate area.

The trail of Words on the Street stretches from the Scottish Storytelling Centre in the middle of the Royal Mile down through the Canongate to the Scottish Parliament,forming an hour long tour.

The boxes are lit between 4pm and 11pm each evening, from November until February 2018.

A map, with more information about the quotations, is available from the iCentre on Waverley Mall or for download here.

Discover the background to the quotations on the website and share your photos with @EdinCityofLit using #wordsonthestreet

Stars & Stories is supported by LitLong, the free app to explore the literary city. With thousands of book extracts pinned to locations around the city, it’s the perfect way to create your own walking trails and discover the hidden words of Edinburgh.

Information and image courtesy of Edinburgh City of Literature. 

November 10, 2017

This is it! Scotland’s literary talent in the spotlight at cabaret event

Author Louise Welsh, poet William Letford (l) and Francis Bickmore of Canongate Books.

Best-selling author Louise Welsh and award-winning poet William Letford are set to headline an inaugural literary cabaret taking place this month, which shines a light on the nation’s literary scene in 2017.

The fast-paced, 90-minute show – called This Is It! –  will highlight the year’s literary happenings across five strands – publishing, book festivals, school and public libraries, writers, and the international perspective.

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs will open this first public event from Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) – the nation’s largest network of literature and languages organisations – on Wednesday 23 November from 7pm at Central Hall, Edinburgh.

Speakers include, respectively, Canongate Books’ Publishing Director Francis Bickmore, Adrian Turpin, Artistic Director of Wigtown Book Festival, and Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive of Scottish Libraries Information Council (SLIC).

Poet William Letford, who hails from Stirling, will cover writer development and perform a reading of his poem This Is It from which the event takes its name.

Closing the show will be Glasgow-based author, Louise Welsh, who will speak about Scotland’s books and literature on the international stage as well as the importance of literary exchange between nations.

In addition, attendees will be able to browse and buy books from Scotland’s writers and publishers courtesy of Blackwell’s Bookshop, Edinburgh while librarians from South Lanarkshire’s digital library programme ‘ACTIVEe’ will be on hand to demonstrate 3D printers which are now available in all of Scotland’s public libraries.

Peggy Hughes, Chair of LAS said:

“With over 40 book festivals a year, ambitious new publishing houses such as 404ink emerging, stalwarts such as Birlinn celebrating 25 years, another Man Booker shortlisting for Ali Smith, Muriel Spark’s centenary on the horizon, not to mention the many, many Scottish books and authors that are going into the world every day and taking our stories and voices with them, it seemed high time that we take a moment to celebrate the wealth of our literature sector and shout about its cultural and social value.”

“At a time when Scotland’s Culture Strategy is being developed, it’s vital that we champion our sector and all the talented people working within and for it. Our literary cabaret is a chance for everyone with an interest in Scotland’s literature and book community to gather together and say, ‘This is it, this is a snapshot of what’s been happening this year’. It’s about carving out a space to celebrate the wonderful success, highlight the exciting potential and address the challenges. That’s why we’re so delighted that Fiona Hyslop is officially opening the event and giving this rich and vibrant sector the recognition it deserves.”

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“Scotland’s distinguished literary culture is a notable part of our national identity. It also attracts visitors to Scotland and raises our cultural profile around the world.

“I am pleased that the Literature Alliance Scotland is extending its reach beyond its membership of key individuals and agencies which promote writers and publishers to engage with the public.

“We are doing all we can to support the literary sector to ensure this rich legacy is maintained and strengthened in future years. We do this through for example our support for Creative Scotland, literacy, libraries, festivals, Book Week Scotland, the First Minister’s Reading Challenge and the post of Makar.”

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, Creative Scotland, said:

“We have a unique, distinctive and rich cultural asset in literature that not only makes an enormous impact to people’s lives in Scotland but also enhances our reputation internationally.  From poets to storytellers, screenwriters and playwrights the quantity and quality of writing being published here is truly inspiring. This is It! and Literature Alliance Scotland creates an important opportunity to bring together authors, publishers, libraries, festivals and literary organisations, and champion the work being done to make literature more visible to a greater number of people. We look forward to continuing this work with Scottish Government, partner agencies and individuals to create the best conditions to support a thriving literature and publishing sector in Scotland and internationally.”

This Is It! is hosted by Siân Bevan and tickets are £7 /£6 – https://this-is-it-literary-cabaret-2017.eventbrite.com/

-Ends-

Issued by JK Consultancy on behalf of Literature Alliance Scotland. For further information, please contact LAS Communications Officer Jenny Kumar on 07989 557198 / jenny@jkconsultancy.com

Notes to Editor

Literature Alliance Scotland, a membership organisation, represents the principal literature and languages organisations in Scotland, and is committed to advancing their interests at home and abroad. We exist to provide a strong, trusted collective voice on their behalf. Formed in Spring 2015, LAS is a successor to the Literature Forum for Scotland. For further information visit www.literaturealliancescotland.co.uk or follow us on Twitter: @LitScotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland, please visit www.creativescotland.com Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland

November 6, 2017
This is it! Scotland’s literary talent in the spotlight at cabaret event

Scottish Libraries receive Carnegie UK Trust Funding

Public libraries across the UK, including 2 in Scotland, are to receive new funding to help their communities explore major health and wellbeing issues including stress, obesity, body image and even death in new ways.

The ‘Engaging Libraries’ funding, announced by the Carnegie UK Trust and global charitable foundation Wellcome, will support libraries to engage local people in imaginative and interactive projects exploring health and wellbeing.

Libraries in East Dunbartonshire will engage with young and older people to explore brain development at different stages in life, and use the celebration the Year of Young People to work with young people and make intergenerational links via a project called Brainworks.

Dundee libraries’ project Talking ‘Bout Teddies will work with Dr Zeedyk to highlight the importance of teddies to children’s wellbeing, by recording and screening stories and short films of children and adults talking about their teddies and hosting a public lecture on attachment as part of the Dundee Science Festival.

Information courtesy of CILIP in Scotland.

October 31, 2017

Muriel Spark 100: Centenary Celebrations

First details announced for nationwide programme of events & activities celebrating the life & work of Dame Muriel Spark: November 2017 – November 2018

Centenary website goes live: www.murielspark100.com @MurielSpark100 #murielspark100

Organisers encourage people to get involved

Launch of new fund for artists & groups to develop & present work

Advice available to those planning activities

Today, Thursday 26 October 2017, the first details are announced for Muriel Spark 100 – a year-long, nationwide programme of literary and cultural events and activities marking the centenary of one of Scotland’s finest and most internationally respected writers, Dame Muriel Spark.

Watch the promotional video:

Trailer_Muriel_Spark_100 from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

 

Led by Creative Scotland and the National Library of Scotland in collaboration with a host of partner individuals, groups and organisations, today’s news coincides with:

  • the launch of a dedicated centenary website murielspark100.com
  • new funds for artists and groups to develop and present new work as part of the centenary year
  • a call out by Muriel Spark 100 organisers to anyone with plans to mark the centenary, to be in touch.

Events and activities already confirmed include the re-publication of all 22 of Spark’s novels by Polygon, an imprint of Birlinn ltd (from Nov ‘17); the unveiling of Spark’s extraordinary archive at a landmark National Library of Scotland exhibition (Dec ‘17-May ‘18); leading Scottish writers Ali Smith, Val McDermid, Janice Galloway, Kate Clanchy and Louise Welsh reflecting on Spark’s career in a new BBC Radio 3 series (Jan ‘18); an international conference bringing together fans and academics to explore all aspects of Spark’s writing (Jan/Feb ‘18); Edinburgh Spy Week’s ‘18.

Commenting, Muriel’s great friend Penelope Jardine said: “Muriel’s contribution to Scottish Letters is one of manifest originality, brevity of wit, with the musical composition and rhythms of a poet. Something unforgettable sui generis.”

The initiative has been welcomed by Scotland’s Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop: “I’m really excited about the forthcoming celebration of Muriel Spark 100. Dame Muriel Spark was one of Scotland’s literary giants and, to this day, her work continues to inspire generations of readers and writers and resonates with audiences across the country and beyond.

“I commend Creative Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and all the other partners involved for delivering such an engaging and varied programme of activity and I am looking forward to attending some of these events next year.”

As details are confirmed they will be announced through the newly launched website www.murielspark100.com and posted through the following channels:

@MurielSpark100 / #murielspark100 / facebook.com/murielspark100

Muriel Spark 100 Chair and Creative Scotland Head of Literature, Publishing and Languages, Jenny Niven said: “The centenary of Dame Muriel Spark’s birth is both a landmark moment and an unparalleled opportunity to permanently influence the way in which this leading figure of Scotland’s cultural history features in the public imagination.

“There is so much to explore in Ms Spark’s work, from her incisive commentary, to her startling poetry, to her ability to effortlessly weave folk tradition with biting satire. It’s a particularly interesting time too to consider her legacy, as a Scottish writer who was fiercely international in her approach and who broke through a great many barriers in her career.

“It’s testament to her range and relevance that so many Scottish organisations will engage with her work and legacy throughout 2018 and we are looking forward enormously to this varied and unusual programme. Creating space for contemporary writers and artists to reflect on Muriel Spark’s influence on them is also very important to this project and we hope to see some really exciting and ambitious proposals through the small grants fund in her name.”

National Librarian Dr John Scally said: “The opportunity to celebrate the life and work of Dame Muriel Spark is as exciting a prospect as opening one of her books for the very first time. She is one of Scotland’s finest ever writers and her reputation extends far beyond these shores. It is fitting therefore that the National Library of Scotland and Creative Scotland are marking the centenary of her birth with Muriel Spark 100 – a year- long programme of activity that promises to be lively, varied and engaging.”

SMALL GRANTS SCHEME

Awards of up to £1,500 are available to support people and projects across a range of art forms. The deadline for proposals is Monday 4 December 2017, with selected projects being announced in early 2018. Further details, funding guidelines and application form are available on Creative Scotland’s website here: www.creativescotland.com/murielspark100fund

MORE WAYS TO JOIN IN…

For those looking to develop events or who would like to mark the centenary in some way – from exhibitions to readings, talks to screenings – contact Muriel Spark 100 Project Coordinator Sabrina Leruste at s.leruste@nls.uk who can offer advice on promoting events as part of the Muriel Spark 100 programme and making connections with relevant counterparts.

Information on a cross section of programme highlights so far:

NATIONAL LIBRARY OF SCOTLAND – THE INTERNATIONAL STYLE OF MURIEL SPARK Fri 8 Dec 2017 – Sun 13 May 2018
National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh www.nls.uk/exhibitions

A major new exhibition revealing unique insights into Muriel Spark’s extraordinary life and work. Featuring personal artefacts never before seen by the public The International Style of Muriel Spark will showcase the National Library of Scotland’s Muriel Spark Archive which is one of the most comprehensive personal records of a writer’s life ever assembled.

The writer’s boxed archive covers the period from the 1940s until her death in 2006, taking up some 46 metres of shelving — just short of the height of Edinburgh’s famous Scott monument. The early records of wartime poverty that chart the struggles of an unknown author are joined by scores of diaries, fascinating letters including those with literary giants, world leaders and film stars, diaries, photographs, newspaper cuttings and school magazines all of which illuminate the inspirations behind Spark’s literary style, her love of fashion, and the significance of the places where she lived.

Colin McIlroy, Muriel Spark Project Curator, National Library of Scotland commented: “Muriel Spark was a self-confessed hoarder. She kept everything from school magazines to shopping receipts, photographs, desk diaries and letters from some of the biggest names in 20th century literature. This is what makes her archive so fascinating. The exhibition will allow us to showcase items never before seen by the public and, in the process, shed new light on an incredible life. It will illuminate her literary style, her love of fashion and the significance of the many places around the world in which she lived.”

PUBLICATION OF NEW EDITIONS OF ALL 22 MURIEL SPARK NOVELS

Publication dates: Nov 2017 – Sep 2018
Each book is priced at £9.99 (hardback). https://murielspark100.com/event/muriel-spark-novels- centenary-editions/

In a bold publishing move, all 22 novels written by Muriel Spark are being re-published by Polygon, an imprint of Birlinn ltd. Each novel will be published in a striking and collectable hardback centenary edition, carrying a series preface by editor Alan Taylor and an introduction by such well-known writers or critics as Ali Smith, William Boyd, Alexander McCall Smith, Candia McWilliam, James Wood, Andrew O’Hagan, Joseph Kanon, Zoë Strachan, Allan Massie, Kapka Kassabova, Dan Gunn Ian Rankin and Richard Holloway. Supported by Creative Scotland and The Muriel Spark Society.

The first four novels – The Comforters, Robinson, Memento Mori, and The Ballad of Peckham Rye – will be published in November 2017. A Far Cry From Kensington will be released early in January, with the next four – The Bachelors, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Girls of Slender Means, The Mandelbaum Gate – on the anniversary itself, 1st February 2018. The remainder will be published over the course of the following six months, finishing in September 2018.

“The Polygon team are delighted to republish all 22 of Muriel Spark’s quite perfect novels in striking, collectable, affordable editions. With the support of Creative Scotland and the Muriel Spark Society, and the drive of series editor Alan Taylor, all of them are being re-issued by Polygon between November 2017 and September 2018, putting her writing exactly where it should be – right at the heart of the celebrations for her centenary” – Jan Rutherford, Birlinn Ltd

Alan Taylor added: “Everyone knows that Muriel Spark was the author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which is undoubtedly one of the twentieth century’s great works of fiction. What too few people also know is that she wrote 21 other novels, all of which are infused with her trademark blend of fun and profundity, original thinking and peerless style.

“Now, for the first time, readers have the opportunity to read Spark at her sparkling best, in a uniform, covetable, hardback edition which even those of slender means can afford.”

BBC RADIO 3 AND ONLINE – ALL MISS BRODIE’S GIRLS?
Sun 29 Jan – Thur 2 Feb 2018 https://murielspark100.com/event/all-miss-brodies-girls/ 22.45-23.00 every night on BBC Radio 3 and online on the BBC Website and on i-player

Every night from Sunday 29 January until Thursday 2 February, leading Scottish writers Ali Smith, Val McDermid, Janice Galloway, Kate Clanchy and Louise Welsh will reflect on different aspects of the career of Muriel Spark in a series of essays on BBC Radio 3.

BBC SCOTLAND/BBC FOUR – MURIEL SPARK DOCUMENTARY

Early 2018 (exact date tbc) www.bbc.co.uk
Early in 2018, BBC Scotland and BBC Four will screen a documentary on the life and work of Muriel Spark. Presented by Kirsty Wark, the programme will explore the writer’s extraordinary life and work.

MURIEL SPARK CENTENARY SYMPOSIUM

Wed 31 Jan – Fri 2 Feb 2018
University of Glasgow, Senate, Carnegie & Melville Rooms, University Avenue G12 8QQ https://murielspark100.com/event/muriel-spark-centenary-symposium/
Booking information available soon

At the end of January, the University of Glasgow will host a 2-day symposium exploring all aspects of Spark’s writing. Film screenings and creative writing workshops are being planned alongside talks and discussions from Spark fans, distinguished academics and Scottish and international writers including Zoë Strachan, Louise Welsh and Ali Smith. Themes will cover humour, satire and transgression, faith and surveillance, writing and gender in Spark’s work.

Dr Helen Stoddart, Senior Lecturer in English Literature, University of Glasgow said: “The Muriel Spark Centenary Symposium at the University of Glasgow will be a celebration and a critical consideration of Scotland’s most cosmopolitan writer. Spark’s books and characters feature deep spiritual insight and slashing satirical comedy, the latter often portraying the petty confidence tricks that people employ. From the 1960s, when ‘condition of Scotland’ fiction was being demanded by the critical and cultural establishment, she gave the world instead, ‘condition of the human soul’ writing.”

APPOINTMENT IN AREZZO: A FRIENDSHIP WITH MURIEL SPARK by ALAN TAYLOR

Publication date: from mid November https://murielspark100.com/event/appointment-in-arezzo-a- friendship-with-muriel-spark-by-alan-taylor/ £12.99

Alan Taylor, longstanding friend and travel companion to Muriel Spark, editor of the Birlinn novels re-edition series, well-known literary journalist for over 30 years and author of many books will publish in November 2017 Appointment in Arezzo: A friendship with Muriel Spark.

An intimate, fond and funny memoir of one of the greatest novelists of the last century, this colourful, personal, anecdotal, indiscrete and admiring memoir charts the course of Muriel Spark’s life. With sources ranging from notebooks kept from his very first encounter with Muriel and the hundreds of letters they exchanged over the years,

Appointment in Arezzo offers an invaluable portrait of one of Edinburgh’s premiere novelists.

EDINBURGH SPY WEEK 2018 – SECRECY, SPIES AND MURIEL SPARK
April 2018 (exact date of talk to be announced soon)
National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EW https://murielspark100.com/event/edinburgh-spy-week-2018-secrecy-spies-and-muriel-spark//

Edinburgh Spy Week is an annual week of public events focusing on spy fiction and film and the ways in which secrecy and spying run through our culture, organised by the University of Edinburgh with the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh Filmhouse, and Blackwell’s. To tie in with the centenary, Spy Week 2018 spotlights the role of secrecy in the life and work of Muriel Spark. Spark was recruited into the Black Propaganda Unit of MI6 during WWII: ‘I played a small part’, Spark wrote, ‘but as a fly on the wall I took in a whole world of intrigue and method’.

The week of events will explore the ways in which this ‘world of intrigue and method’ play out in Spark’s writing, in which espionage, secrecy and spying often takes centre- stage.

Dr Simon Cooke, Department of English Literature, University of Edinburgh, said: “The idea of the event is to explore a pervasive cultural concern. While Spark wasn’t a spy out in the field, she had a career in political intelligence and she did meet a lot of people who were spies. It was a small part of her life in some ways, but if you look at her fiction, the notion of secrecy occurs with some frequency. Books like The Mandelbaum Gate, The Hothouse by the East River and Territorial Rights are, in many ways, spy novels.

“There are a lot of ways in which secrecy and secret agents have a very powerful pull on the imagination and what we want to do is respond to that and try to give interesting discussions, screenings and lectures by some of the key people who are thinking through these ideas.”

GLASGOW WOMEN’S LIBRARY EXHIBITION IN COLLABORATION WITH GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART – MAKING SPARKS

Jun-Aug 2018 (exact date to be announced soon)
Glasgow School of Art https://murielspark100.com/event/making-sparks/

Since its inception in 1991, Glasgow Women’s Library has been collecting Muriel Spark’s work. Vintage gems in Spark’s cover art collection, many of which have been donated from Spark fans looking for a new home for their beloved books, will make up an exhibition that will show a colourful timeline of interpretations of Spark’s novels over the years.

Taking inspiration from these cover images, a group of first and second year students from Glasgow School of Art are working to create their own exhibition of illustration, and graphics. Showing from summer 2018, this will run alongside the cover art exhibition.

Adele Patrick, Lifelong Learning and Creative Development Manager at Glasgow Women’s Library said: “The Muriel Spark centenary is a hugely important event for Scotland as it provides us with the opportunity to honour one of our great literary talents. As one of only a few 20th century Scottish women writers to have her legacy recognised in this way, it poignantly and positively reminds us about the wider array of women writers from history that we risk forgetting.

“We are delighted to be working with long term collaborators Glasgow School of Art on a programme where young designers will mine the Glasgow Women’s Library Muriel Spark collection to create new illustrative interpretations.”

ARTS SCHOOLS ENGAGEMENT PROJECT

Nationwide, throughout 2018

Muriel Spark 100 is collaborating with Scottish arts schools to invite Illustration, Design and Animation tutors and lecturers to involve students in developing new work based on, or influenced by Spark’s work and/or life.

Glasgow School of Art, Edinburgh College of Art, Gray’s School of Art and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design are already on board with the project which will offer participating students opportunities to present their work through a variety of platforms as part of the Muriel Spark 100 programme.

Tutors and lecturers who would like to involve students in the project are invited to contact Sabrina Leruste, Muriel Spark 100 Project Coordinator for more information, at s.leruste@nls.uk. Deadline for submissions: Friday 30 March 2018.

WALKING TOURS – WALKING SPARK
From spring 2018
Throughout Edinburgh https://murielspark100.com/event/walking-spark/

Edinburgh City of Literature Trust will be partnering with Mercat Tours to launch Muriel Spark walking tours from Spring 2018. The tours will set Muriel Spark’s work in the context of the city, exploring the places that influenced and inspired her.
Further details and booking information be announced soon.

MEDIA CONTACT

For further press information/interviews/images please contact:
Wendy Grannon, Media Relations & PR Manager, Creative Scotland
E: wendy.grannon@creativescotland.com T: 0131 523 0016 / M: 07916 137 632

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. Muriel Spark 100 is a year-long, nationwide programme of literary and cultural events and activities marking the centenary of one of Scotland’s finest and most internationally respected writers, Dame Muriel Spark.

The project is led by Creative Scotland and the National Library of Scotland in collaboration with a host of partner individuals, groups and organisations including: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, BBC, Birlinn publishing, Bookmark Festival, British Council, Dovecot Studios Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature, Filmhouse (Edinburgh), Glasgow Film Festival, Glasgow Film Theatre, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow Women’s Library, Gray’s School of Art, Hospitalfield, Literature Alliance Scotland, Muriel Spark Society, National Galleries of Scotland, Saltire Society, Scottish Book Trust, Scottish Library and Information Council, Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish Review of Book, StAnza Festival, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, Visit Scotland, Waterstones, Writers’ Museum

There are a number of ways to get involved in Muriel Spark 100:

Small grants are available to support people and projects across a range of art forms to develop and present work (deadline Mon 4 Dec 2017)

For those looking to develop events or who would like to mark the Centenary in some way – from exhibitions to readings, talks to screenings – contact Muriel Spark 100 Project Coordinator Sabrina Leruste at s.leruste@nls.uk who can offer advice on promoting events as part of the Muriel Spark 100 programme and making connections with relevant counterparts.

Further information and updates are available at www.murielspark100.com and posted through the following channels: @MurielSpark100 / #murielspark100 / facebook.com/murielspark100

  1. About Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark (née Camberg; 1 February 1918 – 13 April 2006) was a poet, writer of fiction, criticism and literary biography. Best-known as the author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark was at the top of her profession, internationally, for more than half a century and went on to win many literary awards. She received a number of honorary degrees, and was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1993.

Never out of print, Muriel Spark wrote many well-known novels including The Driver’s Seat, The Girls of Slender Means and Momento Mori. Her work found critical approval, and her novels, where the supernatural and the surreal come into collision – and collusion – with the everyday, helped to change the face of fiction in the English language.

In the 1940s Spark decided to keep a record of her professional and personal activities, beginning an archive that is now one of the largest and most comprehensive held by the National Library of Scotland. http://digital.nls.uk/murielspark/

  1. Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. www.creativescotland.com / @creativescots www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland.
  2. National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland is a major European research library and one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Scotland and the Scots – an information treasure trove for Scotland’s knowledge, history and culture. The Library’s collections are of world-class importance. Key areas include digital material, rare books, manuscripts, maps, music, moving images, official publications, business information, science and technology, and modern and foreign collections. The Library holds more than 26 million physical items dating back over 1000 years in addition to a growing library of e-books, e- journals and other digital material. The collection includes over four million books, eight million manuscripts, two million maps and over 45,000 films and videos. Every week the Library collects around 3,000 new items. Most of these are received free of charge in terms of Legal Deposit legislation. www.nls.uk / @natlibscot / facebook

 

October 26, 2017